What to Read Next

Taylor Swift's retouched CoverGirl Campaign Banned. Should Makeup Ads Get Real?

Piper Weiss
Shine from Yahoo! Canada
December 20, 2011

It happened: Taylor Swift , America's squeaky clean sweetheart, is being banned for being too unrealistic. The CoverGirl spokesperson who's already appeared in a series of print and commercial ads for the makeup brand, is the target of a new inquiry by the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus Claims.

In a print ad for the CoverGirl NatureLuxe Mousse Mascara, she appears milky-skinned, eyes aflutter. "2X more volume" promises the copy beside her lustrous lashes. And in much finer print, "lashes enhanced in post production."

Nobody's questioning Taylor Swift's beauty, but the ability to obtain her voluminous lashes with CoverGirl's product and zero help from Photoshop? Hard to believe. The NAD asked the makeup company to substantiate the claims it makes in the ad (double the volume, 20 percent lighter than other mascaras). Instead, parent company Proctor and Gamble decided to just pull the whole campaign.

"Upon receiving the inquiry from the NAD, P&G discontinued the advertisement in question," a P&G spokesperon wrote in an emailed statement to press. "The NAD has deemed our intervention as accurate and proper. We have always been committed, and we continue to be committed, to featuring visuals and claims that accurately represent our products' benefits."

We're used to campaigns being pulled due to graphic, sexually explicit content, but ads under fire for being too cleaned-up ushers in a new phase of whistle-blowing. Are advertisers, particularly those hawking beauty products, prepared to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth?

"It is well established that product demonstrations in advertisements must be truthful and accurate and cannot be enhanced," an NAD spokesperson stated in response to the retracted campaign.

In an interview with Business Insider , NAD director Andrea Levine, was a little more blunt. "You can't use a photograph to demonstrate how a cosmetic will look after it is applied to a woman's face and then - in the mice type - have a disclosure that says 'okay, not really.'"

But for a long time, you could--as long as you didn't talk about it. "Everybody does it," advertising beauty consultant Suzanne Grayson told AdAge earlier this week. "It's been more aggressive by manufacturers, because they see what other people are getting away with, and it becomes, 'Can you top this?'"

In the UK, media watchdogs have been on a campaign to keep beauty ads honest. In 2010, an ad for Rimmel Mascara was banned after the model was found to be wearing fake lashes. In July, the Advertising Standards Authority banned two L'Oreal print ads featuring airbrushed versions of Julia Roberts and Christy Turlington. The move was hailed as a socially responsible approach to regulating not only our advertisers but our unrealistic standards of beauty.

In the U.S., beauty ads haven't been held under the same microscope until now. Will 2012 mark the year make-up ads come clean and if they do, what exactly will that look like? Taylor Swift with shorter eyelashes or no Taylor Swift at all?

Related links:

2011's best beauty products

Would cosmetic surgery make you happier?

Got the Need for Speed?

Get on the fast track to a great career. Click here to learn more about training at MMI

Help Erase Credit Card Debt with a Personal Loan

Are you paying too much on your credit cards? Consider a Personal Loan to help consolidate your payments.

Shift into High Gear

Get the training you need for a career you ll love. Click here to learn more about MMI.

An Overlooked Method To Pay Off Your Credit Card

If you're paying credit card interest, you could save hundreds or thousands of dollars by transferring your balance to this no-fee card.

Read This Before You Buy Medigap Plan F

Medicare Supplement Plan F is the most popular plan option, but there's another Medigap option you should consider.

Buying Medicare Supplement Plan F? Read This First

Learn why Medicare Supplement Plan F might not be your best plan option.

This $625 Intro Bonus Is Insane

A leading credit card issuer just raised its intro bonus to an industry-leading $500 cash or $625 in travel. And no annual fee the first year.

Attn Home Owners Who Never Miss a Payment.

Home Owners who have not missed a payment in 3 years or more need to read this. If you owe less than $625,000 on your home there is a solution.

File for nada, zilch, zip.

Prepare, print and e-file your simple federal returns for free.

Do NOT pay your insurance until you try this.

If you drive less than 55 miles/day OR have no DUI's you can get auto insurance for as low as $29/ Month! See if you qualify.

How Older Men Tighten Their Skin

Men, reduce the look of wrinkles, sagging skin and fine lines with this affordable and effective skin tightening treatment without leaving your home.

VA Mortgage Rates In 2016

VA Rates as Low as 2.75% (3.028% APR) 15 Year Fixed. Exclusive For Veteran & Military Takes 1 Min!

Hurry, Don't Be Late For This Very Important Deal!

Get 4 Disney Movies For $1 With Membership. See Details. Exclusive Titles, Merchandise, Offers & Discounts. Plus, Free Shipping On Your Initial Order!

Military Mortgage Rates In 2016

Rates as Low as 2.75% (3.028% APR) 15 Year Fixed. Exclusive For Veteran & Military Takes 1 Min!